Newsletter - February 2010

Did you know?

Were you aware that there are official Consulate Generals or Honorary Consuls for the Country of Norway in 31 of the 50 States in America and for the Bahamas and Bermuda? All Norskies out there can obtain information regarding Norway’s consular matters and cultural events within each state and possession without having to go through the official Washington DC embassy. We’re rather widespread, aren’t we. ;)

Past Newsletters
January 2011
December 2010
October 2010

August 2010
July 2010
June 2010
March 2010
February 2010

From our Newsletter Editor
» Scandinavian Encounter By President Peter Haslund
» High School Students Introduced to Danish Water Policies
» Winter food from Finland

From our Newsletter Editor

Even though we still have chilly days and chillier nights, spring is creeping its way toward us. Recently the palm trees in the center court of my apartment complex have been alive with the calls of male birds trying to attract the attention of female birds returning to the area…”Hey, ladies! Look here, I have a superlative nest! And I am so big and strong!” they seem to be saying with their raucous calls. It makes me think about times of renewal, as spring promises. Soon there will be a new crop of bright and eager young students applying for our scholarships, and even in this down economy we still have enough equity with the amazing Santa Barbara Scholarship Foundation that we can, coupled with our own ASF-SB annual fundraising efforts, offer assistance to deserving students. We have every right to be proud of the work we do in aiding these fine students with their further studies, and I hope that any who are considering an additional donation will send it to the Treasurer posthaste. Every dollar helps! ;D

I would like to send a special shout out to Evelyne Houdek :-*, who has tirelessly beaten the bushes for material for me to include in the online news and the print newsletters. I am just the Editor here, I don’t compose the material, so if I don’t receive anything, the online news and newsletters suffer. Please send me your stories and ideas and articles for inclusion in future issues. However, please send by e-mail, as I don’t have the time to re-type printed matter. If you find a site with interesting matter on it, just send me the appropriate link and I will see if we can get permission to use their material.

Robin Leigh Anderson, Editor

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Scandinavian Encounter By President Peter Haslund

It was Thursday, and I was to meet with 4 students in front of the library at Santa Barbara City College. Turns out that three of them were from Sweden and that they had been here for less than a month. One of them was not only fluent in English but in Spanish and German as well. She has also studies Latin and Chinese! All three were bright and ready to learn!

We talked a lot about the differences in culture; that people back home are more reserved while Americans seem more outgoing. I remember my Chinese students saying much the same thing: Americans make friends easily. They also said that American’s mean something different by the concept of friendship; usually something less! I shared this with my Swedish students. They nodded in agreement. American’s can be pretty superficial in terms of what they mean by friendship.

The discussion continued. We explored our impressions about fundamental differences in culture between Americans and Scandinavians and concluded that though there might be surface differences, at the end of the day, we were pretty much the same.

We turned our focus to career options. I was curious about what they saw as potential future sources of employment. Like most American students at this stage of their lives, they didn’t have a clue! But they were thoughtful as they expressed their views about wanting to be engaged in meaningful work that would better their community. This is very similar to what I hear from American students. Another similarity!

All in all, we have 1,088 international students attending SBCC of which 272 are from Scandinavia. Of these, 252 are from Sweden, 11 are from Norway, 6 are from Denmark, and 3 are from Finland! No Icelanders this year! Our American students are enriched by their presence. Not only do they learn about other cultures – a much needed aspect of education in an era of globalization – but they learn about their own culture as it is reflected back to them by their international counterparts.

This next generation will face a very different set of challenges. They will have to resolve the significant problems created by our generation, a tall order! Global Warming, the disposition of nuclear weapons, the continuing expansion of global poverty, ongoing international violence, often based on religious and cultural differences -- these are likely to fall to the next generation to resolve.

And if they are to be successful in this endeavor, they will have to do this work……together!

That’s why today’s process of international education is so critically important. They are building those “bridges” that will be essential for the resolution of tomorrow’s very real challenges!

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High School Students Introduced to Danish Water Policies
On Tuesday February, 23th San Antonio International School of the Americas visited The Royal Danish Embassy to hear Mr. Lars Juul Hansen talk about Danish water policies in relation to climate change.

On the United Nations’ list of the world’s most important problems, water is a top priority. Especially access to clean drinking water and sanitation is highly important for humans.
Climate Changes will impact different regions very different. Although Denmark is a small country regional differences can already be measured, giving decision makers complex issues to solve. The regional variation is far greater in the US. In the United States, the impact of climate change has yet to be fully identified. Internationally recognized climate models do not yet predict overlapping results for many regions. Thus, it is difficult to move from the national and regional models to local models and from there to the critical planning process.

Never the less professionals must start making critical decisions and choices based on the reality that the water sector infrastructure is critical for civilization and the basis for life, Mr. Lars Juul Hansen told the American students.

Access to clean water and sanitation is not, despite what many might think, a given for all Americans. Moreover, climate change will stress many regions’ abilities to provide this service.
Clean ground water is by far the cheapest way to secure drinking water; a ground water based supply can save the consumers a lot of money, as water on bottles can be around 10.000 times as expensive as tap water.

Mr. Lars Juul Hansen described to the high school seniors how Denmark only uses clean ground water as drinking water, while the drinking water supply in the United States is a mix of ground water and surface water. In the US advanced technology is often used to rinse the water, but else ware in the US water is pure enough to be led unfiltered to consumers. Water in Denmark is always rinsed through simple sand filters.

Another water problem is floods. Floods are most likely the biggest threat to international stability; in Bangladesh for instance around 50 million people are threatened by rising sea water levels. In the US this is a question of national security. Regions like Florida and Gulf of Mexico have to plan for the rising sea levels. In other regions in the US changes in rain patterns are a threat, and flooding from rivers and lakes have devastated many homes over the last decade.

The students were very interested in many aspects of water and climate changes, and issues on how to adapt city development and Green buildings also became subject for a good discussion.

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Winter food from Finland
Finland has been experiencing a frigid winter, full of record-breaking snow and cold. Even the Finns, quite adept at dealing with frozen winters, are looking for ways to cope with the freezing temperatures outside, and many are turning to savory meals with family and friends, cozily inside.
Below are a couple of the great winter recipes for our nippy winter mornings and evenings, from the Consulate General of Finland New York Newsletter, February 19, 2010

Finnish oven pancake
2 ½ cups milk
3 eggs
1 teasthingy salt
2 tablesthingys sugar
1 ¼ cups all purpose flour
3 tablesthingys melted butter
1. Beat eggs.
2. Add milk, sugar and salt. Whisk in the flour, mix well.
3. Add melted butter and mix until blended. Let the dough rest for 30 minutes.
4. Pour into a greased pan. Bake at 400 degrees F for approx. 40 minutes, or until custard is set and top is nicely browned.
5. Serve with strawberry jam or fresh berries and sugar.

Finnish pea soup
6 - 8 portions.
10 cups water
1 lbs. dried peas
1 lbs. smoked ham
½ cup cream
2 chopped onions
2 chopped carrots
2 laurel leaves
½ tsp black pepper
1 tsp marjoram
1 tsp salt

1. Steep the peas in water overnight. Pour out the water, rinse the peas well and strain the remaining water from them.
2. In a medium pot, sauté onions in oil. Remove from heat and add split peas and chopped ham. Add enough water to cover ingredients.
3. Cover and cook until there are no peas left, just a green liquid, 2-3 hours. While the soup is cooking, check to see if water has evaporated. You may need to add more water as the soup continues to cook.
4. Chop the carrots and add them to the saucepan together with cream, black pepper, marjoram, laurel leaves and salt.
5. Cook at a low heat for 30 minutes. Season with mustard.

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